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 We're living the dream; we just don't realize it 
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Post We're living the dream; we just don't realize it
I tend to be a glass half full kinda guy so found this interesting...

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/24/opinion/j ... verlooked/

CNN wrote:
We're living the dream; we just don't realize it

We've finally emerged from the season in which Americans were asked by the pollsters and politicians: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" But sometimes it's important to contemplate the question of progress from a longer view: How are we doing on the scale of a generation?

To answer that question, take this brief quiz.

Over the past two decades, what have the U.S. trends been for the following important measures of social health: high school dropout rates, college enrollment, juvenile crime, drunken driving, traffic deaths, infant mortality, life expectancy, per capita gasoline consumption, workplace injuries, air pollution, divorce, male-female wage equality, charitable giving, voter turnout, per capita GDP and teen pregnancy?

The answer for all of them is the same: The trend is positive. Almost all those varied metrics of social wellness have improved by more than 20% over the past two decades. And that's not counting the myriad small wonders of modern medicine that have improved our quality of life as well as our longevity: the anti-depressants and insulin pumps and quadruple bypasses.

Americans enjoy longer, healthier lives in more stable families and communities than we did 20 years ago. But other than the crime trends, these facts are rarely reported or shared via word-of-mouth channels.

Many Americans, for instance, are convinced that "half of all marriages end in divorce," though that hasn't been the case since the early 1980s, when divorce rates peaked at just over 50%. Since then, they have declined by almost a third.

This is not merely a story of success in advanced industrial countries. The quality-of-life and civic health trends in the developing world are even more dramatic.

Even though the world's population has doubled over the past 50 years, the percentage living in poverty has declined by 50% over that period. Infant mortality and life expectancy have improved by more than 40% in Latin America since the early 1990s. No country in history has improved its average standard of living faster than China has over the past two decades.

Of course, not all the arrows point in a positive direction, particularly after the past few years. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased over the past decade, after a long period of decline. Wealth inequality has returned to levels last seen in the roaring '20s.

Today, the U.S. unemployment rate is still just under 8%, higher than its average over the past two decades. Household debt soared over the past 20 years, though it has dipped slightly thanks to the credit crunch of the last few years. And while the story of water and air pollution over that period is a triumphant one, the long-term trends for global warming remain bleak.

We are much more likely to hear about these negative trends than the positive ones for two primary reasons.

First, we tend to assume that innovation and progress come from big technology breakthroughs, from new gadgets and communications technologies, most of them created by the private sector. But the positive trends in our social health are coming from a more complex network of forces: from government intervention, public service announcements, demographic changes, the shared wisdom of life experiences passed along through generations and the positive effects of rising affluence. The emphasis on private sector progress is no accident; it is the specific outcome of the way public opinion is shaped within the current media landscape.

The public sector doesn't have billions of dollars to spend on marketing campaigns to trumpet its successes. A multinational corporation invents a slightly better detergent, and it will spend a legitimate fortune to alert the world that the product is now "new and improved." But no one takes out a prime-time ad campaign to tout the remarkable decrease in air pollution that we have seen over the past few decades, even thought that success story is far more important than a trivial improvement in laundry soap.

That blind spot is compounded by the deeper lack of interest in stories of incremental progress. Curmudgeons, doomsayers, utopians and declinists all have an easier time getting our attention than opinion leaders who want to celebrate slow and steady improvement.

The most striking example of this can be seen in the second half of the 1990s, a period in which both economic and social trends were decisively upbeat: The stock market was surging, but inequality was in fact on the decline; crime, drug use, welfare dependence, poverty -- all were trending in an encouraging direction.

With a Democrat in the White House, you might assume that the op-ed pages of The Washington Post would be bursting with pride over the state of the nation, given the paper's center-left leanings. But you would be wrong. Over the course of 1997, in the middle of the greatest peacetime economic boom in U.S. history (and before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke), 71% of all editorials published in the Post that expressed an opinion on some aspect of the country's current state focused on a negative trend. Less than 5% of the total number of editorials concentrated on a positive development. Even the boom years are a bummer.

I suspect, in the long run, the media bias against incremental progress may be more damaging than any bias the media display toward the political left or right. The media are heavily biased toward extreme events, and they are slightly biased toward negative events -- though in their defense, that bias may just be a reflection of the human brain's propensity to focus more on negative information than positive, a trait extensively documented by neuroscience and psychology studies.

The one positive social trend that did generate a significant amount of coverage -- the extraordinary drop in the U.S. crime rate since the mid-'90s -- seems to have been roundly ignored by the general public. The violent crime rate (crimes per thousand people) dropped from 51 to 15 between 1995 and 2010, truly one of the most inspiring stories of societal progress in our lifetime. And yet according to a series of Gallup polls conducted over the past 10 years, more than two-thirds of Americans believe that crime has been getting worse, year after year.

Whether these biases come from media distortions or our human psychology, they result in two fundamental errors in the popular mind: We underestimate the amount of steady progress that continues around us, and we misunderstand where that progress comes from. We should celebrate these stories of progress, not so we can rest on our laurels but instead so we can inspire the next generation to build on that success.

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November 26th, 2012, 5:54 pm
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Post Re: We're living the dream; we just don't realize it
I think it's more like the matrix that was described a few years ago, and in line with the movie to some extent. If you're a part of the world's belief system, you're nursing on the deception. But unplug from that deception, and see the world differently and you are an extremist pariah that must be ridiculed, discredited, brow beat, and silenced just because others can't see the forest because the trees are in the way.

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


November 29th, 2012, 9:21 am
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Post Re: We're living the dream; we just don't realize it
Quote:
Of course, not all the arrows point in a positive direction, particularly after the past few years. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased over the past decade, after a long period of decline. Wealth inequality has returned to levels last seen in the roaring '20s.

Today, the U.S. unemployment rate is still just under 8%, higher than its average over the past two decades. Household debt soared over the past 20 years, though it has dipped slightly thanks to the credit crunch of the last few years. And while the story of water and air pollution over that period is a triumphant one, the long-term trends for global warming remain bleak.

We are much more likely to hear about these negative trends than the positive ones for two primary reasons.

First, we tend to assume that innovation and progress come from big technology breakthroughs, from new gadgets and communications technologies, most of them created by the private sector. But the positive trends in our social health are coming from a more complex network of forces: from government intervention, public service announcements, demographic changes, the shared wisdom of life experiences passed along through generations and the positive effects of rising affluence. The emphasis on private sector progress is no accident; it is the specific outcome of the way public opinion is shaped within the current media landscape.


While I do think it is true that marriages are lasting longer, and the matrices outlined in the article are up over the last 20 years, I think the problem with the data is two-fold:

1) While those things are up in a 20 year average, the data is showing that our generation or our children's generation is going to be the first generation in many that has a LOWER life expectancy. The trend is for the number to reverse and start heading downward. Cancer is at an all-time high, PCB's, the cleanliness of our water, and air pollution are at all time highs on a planetary scale. What Mr. Obama fails to realize is that cutting pollution HERE is much, much less effective than cutting pollution abroad, where standards are non-existent or severely lacking. Forcing us to produce cars with near zero emissions costs us billions, and in the grand scheme of things isn't as effective as getting India or China on the same bandwagon.

2) While the divorce rate may be declining, what children are getting out of their "family environment" is severely lacking. I was taught how to save money, the importance of saving, the value of a dollar, how to treat a woman properly, the value of a commitment, the value of your reputation, the value of your word and your promise, and the value of hard work and dedication through my family. IMO the government takes away many of those messages with things like welfare, massive student loan debt (a situation that they created, the cost of tuition is up over 100% since the student loan boom about 10 years ago). Even now, I sit here with massive amounts of student loans and the ability to make massive amounts of money, but the fact that the harder I work the more goes toward my student loans curbs that enthusiasm. Most of my friends are on an "income based repayment plan," and even the ones that can afford to pay their student loans off don't. Why should they? Most everyone else isn't... The way the system is structured right now they disappear in 30 years. Most everyone I know is paying the bare minimum until they disappear.


I think it's no accident that the article puts "government intervention" first on the list, when it should be last, or left off altogether. "The government" IMO is a major source of the problem. Even if the "family institution" did teach the same values that I learned as a kid, the govt. sends the completely contrary message, and you can either get on board with the govts. message, or you can bust your rectum and not get the reward you should be getting for your hard work, your choice...


November 29th, 2012, 5:56 pm
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Post Re: We're living the dream; we just don't realize it
I'm curious about the divorce rate declining. Are they declining because there are fewer and fewer marriages, and more and more domestic partnerships? People are living together and raising families without the "bondage" of a marriage license, which in a sense is a form of familial break down because there's nothing to work towards. It's not a contractual agreement between two people, it's friends with benefits, and children are the result of copulation.

Quote:
While the divorce rate may be declining, what children are getting out of their "family environment" is severely lacking. I was taught how to save money, the importance of saving, the value of a dollar, how to treat a woman properly, the value of a commitment, the value of your reputation, the value of your word and your promise, and the value of hard work and dedication through my family. IMO the government takes away many of those messages with things like welfare, massive student loan debt (a situation that they created, the cost of tuition is up over 100% since the student loan boom about 10 years ago). Even now, I sit here with massive amounts of student loans and the ability to make massive amounts of money, but the fact that the harder I work the more goes toward my student loans curbs that enthusiasm. Most of my friends are on an "income based repayment plan," and even the ones that can afford to pay their student loans off don't. Why should they? Most everyone else isn't... The way the system is structured right now they disappear in 30 years. Most everyone I know is paying the bare minimum until they disappear.



=D> absolutely agree.....

This government is on the fast track for creating dependency. We, the current generation and those ahead of us, are written off as a loss, they want the children!

Take a look at these quotes from our good buddy Vladimir Lenin...

Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik (a Communist or somebody who shares the ideals of Communism) forever.

The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.
Vladimir Lenin

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
Vladimir Lenin

The way to crush the bourgeoisie ( affluent middle-class people characterized as conventional, conservative, or materialistic in outlook) is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
Vladimir Lenin


We, or I have already addressed Obama's upbringing in a STRONG Communist home, complete with a notorious Communist mentor in Frank Marshall Davis. These influences have shaped his world view, and now that he's been given authority again, who do you think they're going for?

In order for the One world government to materialize, the United States needs a massive paradigm shift in it's core beliefs. With the previous Presidency of Obama, mixed with the next four years, that shift has already been underway.

Does anyone remember the Disney movie pinnochio?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgmfV5VLHvs

Obama and this administration has streamlined the giving of gifts in order to satisfy the entitlement class, meanwhile leading us further and further into captivity. "Proverbs 22:7
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender."

_________________
2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


November 30th, 2012, 9:34 am
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